Our Marans and Welsummers have been upgraded to a new spot in the barn! We’ve had an exciting few days, planning an addition to our existing barn and building a new roosting area and play area.
They started out living in our bathroom (yikes) and then moved to what we call the “baby pen” in the barn–a snake and critter proof stall with heat lamps and plenty of room for them to grow. They were happy there, but at 2 months old, it was time to let them out into the barnyard…except that we already have a yard full of grown hens and roosters.
We are a little protective of these chicks, and they aren’t quite ready to mix in with the “big guys” just yet. So we came up with a new plan–give them their very own roosting area in the barn, and an exit into their very own fenced in section of the barnyard.
Our grown flock was very curious about this new addition and helped us by inspecting each section. They were NOT happy when we had the audacity to put a wire cover over the top. They can’t even fly over! Our turkey has taken to expressing his displeasure by roosting on TOP of said cover. Not sure how we’ll break him of that…
We moved the Marans, Welsummers, and our 2 chicks from our very first incubator hatch–an Easter Egger and a something else (mixed breed, but we don’t know what mix!) from the brooder pen to their very own fenced in spot yesterday. It was really their first taste of “freedom” and the first time they’d been outside for any length of time. They were confused at first, and then ecstatic.
We put them inside the new coop last night and helped them onto the roost. (quite comical, but most of them got the hang of it)
The coop has a super cool door that we can open from the outside by a pulley system. That’s what allows them into their fenced in section of the barnyard during the day. This morning I went out and opened it up–and only the 2 oldest (my first hatch babies) ventured out. Little heads poked out of the door though, and pretty soon the Marans and Welsummers ventured outside. They had a fabulous day running, playing and scratching around. The fence they are in borders one of our goat pens, and they quickly got acquainted with Stephanie, our doe.
Tonight we put them back in the coop through the door and helped them back on the roost. (My husband says I worry too much and should just let them figure it out, but I can’t help myself) In a few days, they should have the hang of everything, but for now I’m going to help out.
Our next decision will be how long to keep them in what we’re calling “the teenage pen” and when to let them into the whole barnyard with the others. At this point, I know I won’t put them into the mix until they are as big as the other hens and roosters, so I guess it just depends on how fast they grow!